The Cultural Politics of Opera, 1720-1742
Title Details

400 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

10 b/w illus.

Series: Music in Britain, 1600-2000

Imprint: Boydell Press

The Cultural Politics of Opera, 1720-1742

The Era of Walpole, Pope and Handel

by Thomas McGeary

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  • Contents
  • Author
Explores the intersection of the world of opera, literature and partisan politics to show how Italian opera was put to use in the 'culture wars' of the day.

This last of a trilogy of books on opera and politics in Britain examines the cultural politics of opera during the ministerial reign of Sir Robert Walpole from 1720 to 1742. The book explores the intersection of the world of opera, literature, and partisan politics to show how Italian opera - with its associations with the court, ministry and Britain's social-political elite - was put to use in the 'culture wars' of the day: how Italian opera was used for partisan political advantage; how political work could be accomplished by means of opera. It shows that attacks on opera had ulterior targets.

The book surveys a range of often overlooked verse and prints to show how critique or satire of opera were a means for oppositional writers to delegitimize the Walpole ministry. Polemicists framed opera as a consequence of the corruption, luxury and False Taste generated by Walpole's ministry. It closes in the watershed year 1742: Handel had produced the last of his Italian operas the previous year, Walpole fell from power, and Alexander Pope published the last book of his Dunciad project.
Introduction: Opera and Cultural Politics
1. Rise of Walpole and the Whig Oligarchy
2. The Royal Academy of Music and Its Audience
3. Bolingbroke and the Political Opposition
4. Opera and the Luxury Debate
5. Excise and the Patriot Opposition
6. Opera of the Nobility and the Furor Farinellicus
7. From Excise to the War of Jenkins' Ear
8. A Patriot Vision for Dramatic Music
9. Opera and the Politics of Taste
10. Opera in Formal Verse Satire
11. War of Jenkins' Ear and the Fall of Walpole
12. The New Dunciad: Opera and the Triumph of Dulness

Coda: The Cultural Work of Opera
Bibliography
Index

THOMAS McGEARY holds a PhD in musicology from the University of Illinois. He is the author of The Politics of Opera in Handel's Britain, 1720-1742 (CUP, 2013).

Hardcover

9781837651696

September 2024

£100.00 / $145.00

Available to pre-order from June 2024

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Title Details

400 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

10 b/w illus.

Series: Music in Britain, 1600-2000

Imprint: Boydell Press